The Colorado Avalanche played its first intrasquad scrimmage during the fourth day of Phase 3 training camp. The Avs will play against the Minnesota Wild in an exhibition game on July 29 in Edmonton, Alberta, before opening Stanley Cup Qualifier play versus the St. Louis Blues on Aug. 2.
Head coach Jared Bednar and a couple players caught up with media following practice.
Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar
On On-Ice Communication Without Fans: "No, I don't believe [there's such a thing as too much talking]. Even today, we scrimmaged for practice, split the teams up and it's awful quiet out there. You know, your team gets dialed into the talk that your linemates and teammates have on the ice and it helps you out in situations. To me, it eliminates confusion, helps everything get sorted out on the defensive side of the puck. Offensively, it helps you play faster, and I felt like we were quiet. We've been trying to get our team to be more vocal and more confident and give more help to our teammates for a number of years now. We've improved dramatically in that area and now I notice after the break we've kind of regressed back and we need to get them up and talking again and helping each other out in five-on-five situations. We're going to be pushing that here, already started today after the first scrimmage and hopefully our guys continue to improve and get back to where we were and even excel past that as we enter into the tournament in Edmonton."
On Lineup for Exhibition Game: "I'm not there yet, it just depends on how the next week or so of camp goes. I think that you have just this small window of games, one exhibition game, three round robin games that are very meaningful in my opinion. We'll have a list of players that we feel like are going to be either on our opening night playoff roster or, you know, the next guys to be going in so there's four games there that we may want to insert a couple guys and, at the same time, I'd also like to get our guys in and the guys that we know are going to be in the lineup and get them playing and getting those reps because it's not a lot of games. It's just one exhibition and then it's right to the round robin games fighting for home-ice advantage. You know, we've discussed it back and forth both ways and we're just going to let this camp play out and see what types of decisions that we may or may not have going into that exhibition game."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after Day 4 of Phase 3 Camp
Colorado Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
On Scrimmaging in Practice Without Fans: "Yeah, I mean it was different. I mean, today it felt like a scrimmage, you know. The inter-squad scrimmage and I thought our pace was good. It was our first time kind of doing the full ice, five-on-five type of stuff. We've done, obviously some drills yesterday and things like that but that pace was good. Obviously, it's quiet, but you don't expect much more out of a scrimmage. You know, it'll be different no doubt and we've known that the whole time that it will be very different. I've said this before and I'm going to keep saying it, you know, nothing else in this world is what it used to be so why would the Stanley Cup Playoffs be any different. So, we're just going to have to get used to the new normal as of right now and make the most of it."
On Playing with Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin: "I liked it. It's been a couple of practices now and I thought we had a good scrimmage today and obviously we matched up against Nate (MacKinnon), Mikko (Rantanen) and Burky (Andre Burakovsky) so that's a tough task there. For us, I see us as a line that can be tough to play against, you know, heavy on pucks down low, things like that, create offense, but very responsible defensively. You know I just think it gets us another look and I think that's probably what the coaching staff is looking for is to see if, depending on matchups and things like that, that's always a good thing to have moving into the playoffs run like this. It just gives us another look and obviously I've played a lot with Nate and Mikko in the past, but I mean Val (Nichushkin) and Naz (Nazem Kadri) were having a lot of fun playing together and they're two really high-quality players, so it's fun. Obviously, chemistry doesn't just happen overnight, it's something you have to constantly work on, and I see a lot of potential between the three of us."
Video: Gabriel Landeskog on the Phase 3 Training Camp
Colorado Center Vladislav Namestnikov
On Playing with J.T. Compher and Joonas Donskoi: "I mean we've been together since the beginning of camp, so with each practice we're getting to know each other a little better, each other's games and building that little chemistry up. It's been good so far so hopefully we can continue building on that."
On His Playoff Experience: "I think it's hard to compare teams. I mean there are so many different things going on in this team and that team, but I think this team there's a good mix of young players and older players. You know, I've been only here for a little bit but I've noticed it's really a tight group and I think that's what can get us there and it's very, very balanced and that's, I think, what can get us there."
Video: Vladislav Namestnikov after Day 4 of Phase 3 Camp
Colorado Defenseman Ian Cole
On Playing Competitive Hockey Without Fans: "I mean, it's obviously a little strange having so many seats with nobody in them, but you know, I think that everyone is aware of the situation and trying to, you know, do the best they can as far as trying to put a good product out there regardless of how many people are in the stands or regardless of how many people are watching or cheering us on. You know, there are some times, especially during the season and in some different buildings around the league where you know, you kind of need to make your own energy. This is certainly going to be, you know one of those times to the Nth degree. It's going to be something that is going to be very, very new to us, but I think that it's going to be something that, you know, you can deal with it and kind of create your own energy that you might have an advantage."
On The Avs' Chances in the Playoffs: "I do [think we have the ability to go far], yeah. I do, I think that it's, having a deep roster and having guys that can contribute all the way through the lineup is really a huge first step to being a successful team. I mean, obviously there's a ton of other aspects to it, you know, execution, certainly luck, you're going to need bounces, you're going to need calls, you're going to need all of these things. But, having a lineup where you can produce and you can rely on all four line of forwards, all three pairs of defensemen, one or if not two goalies, any of the extra guys that are coming in, you need to be able to rely on everybody out there. Every team has good players on the first line, or maybe the second line, but you see a lot of times from teams that are successful, they have third and fourth lines that can drive play, hang onto pucks and create stuff in the offensive zone. Looking at our team, I think we very much check those boxes, so you know, I think there's a lot of excitement for our team and for our roster amongst the guys on that roster which, you know I guess is good. But, no it's something that, you know, we're very excited about and hopefully we can have success and be a contender for a while."
Video: Ian Cole on scrimmaging on Day 4 of camp
Quotes transcribed by Colorado Avalanche's Kate Reed